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Shoals Symphony at UNA to Perform Holiday Concert Dec. 12
Dec. 3, 2010



FLORENCE, Ala. – A holiday musical extravaganza featuring George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” one of the most famous and celebrated pieces of music in history, will take place at a holiday concert by the Shoals Symphony at UNA Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in Norton Auditorium.

Sponsored by the United Methodist Church District across the Shoals as a fundraiser for the local Brandon Ministry Center, the performance will combine the Shoals Symphony at UNA orchestra, Chamber Singers and University Chorale choruses, as well as local Methodist Church choirs.

The concert will also feature four solos by UNA students and guest performers, including UNA student and tenor Zack Casbald, UNA student and bass Jason Allen, soprano Susan Ruggiero from Mississippi and alto Kristen Vienneau from Memphis, Tenn.

The 55-minute program will include 20 separate musical numbers, finishing with a “Hallelujah” chorus. The audience will also be encouraged to take part in a sing-a-long to Christmas favorites like “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.”

“Every person on earth should hear the ‘Messiah’ performed at least once in their lifetime,” said Viljar P. Weimann, UNA music director and conductor of the Shoals Symphony at UNA. “It’s such an important piece of history in its subject matter, and it’s the greatest piece of music ever composed. It’s the kind of piece that is heard around the world and unifies people.”

The Shoals Symphony holiday performance will be a formal-attire event, which Weimann anticipates will bring in large crowds from the UNA student body, local community and religious organizations. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts on 217 E. Tennessee St. in Florence. An open rehearsal will take place Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. and is open for free to UNA students.

“The performance of ‘Messiah’ is an annual holiday event in many communities in terms of religious observance,” said Dr. David McCullough, chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. “There is nothing classier than ‘Messiah’ as far as public entertainment. It’s one of the most famous pieces of art in western tradition.”

With concerts funded by a grant from the Alabama State Council of the Arts, the Shoals Symphony at UNA performs four times a year and holds musical contests for student musicians. Future Shoals Symphony performances will include a winter concert called “Music of the Nations” March 6 at 2 p.m. in the Muscle Shoals High School Auditorium and a spring performance featuring bluegrass band Iron Horse in the “Symphony Goes Country” event May 7 at 7 p.m. at UNA’s Memorial Amphitheater.

For more information about the Shoals Symphony at UNA, visit www.una.edu/shoals-symphony.